TEHRAN — Influential conservative MPs and media slammed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday for repeatedly talking about resuming ties with the United States during his visit to the UN General Assembly.
“Expressing an interest in resumption of ties with America and saying in an interview that lack of such relations is a loss for both nations is not appropriate,” ultra-Conservative MP Ali Motahari was quoted as saying by the conservative Khabaronline.ir website.
“We believe that the lack of a relationship is to the disadvantage of both countries and it is necessary that the US officials change their attitude a little to solve problems,” the presidency website quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in one of the many interviews he gave in New York.
Ahmad Tavakoli, another influential conservative parliamentarian, said: “The approach of some is contrary to the interests of the country,” according to media reports.
Other officials and conservative media have also criticised Ahmadinejad, saying that any decision on a possible resumption of talks or ties with Washington was up to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not Ahmadinejad.
“It was the American government which unilaterally severed relations. We believe that there is no reason for tension and we are ready for interaction and dialogue based on mutual respect and fair conditions,” Ahmadinejad also said in an interview with the ABC network.
He also welcomed the idea of an emergency hot line between Tehran and Washington, suggested by the United States after a series of close encounters between US and Iranian forces in the Gulf.
“Any tool that can prevent clashes and potential conflict will be welcome. And I don’t think there is any need for confrontation,” Ahmadinejad said at a news conference at the UN.
Iran and the United States have no diplomatic relations since November 1980 when Islamist students stormed the American embassy in Tehran, after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The Islamic republic has called the United States the “Great Satan” ever since.